Central Florida hit hardest by the state's record number of hepatitis A cases this year


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With an additional 89 cases reported last week, Florida has had 1,220 hepatitis A cases this year — more than in the five previous years combined, according to information posted on the state Department of Health website.

The outbreak has hit hardest in the Tampa Bay region and in parts of Central Florida.

The disease, which can cause liver damage, can be spread through such things as food or drinks that have been contaminated with fecal matter from people with the disease. Health officials have urged people to get vaccinated against the disease.

Florida had 548 cases last year, which was a major jump from 276 cases in 2017, 122 cases in 2016, 123 cases in 2015 and 106 cases in 2014, the department’s numbers show. Since the start of 2018, Pinellas County has had the most cases, with 357. It is followed by Pasco County, with 300 cases; Orange County, with 193; Hillsborough County, with 180; Marion County, with 89; and Volusia County, with 83.

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